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Boris on holiday

Boris Johnson, the new London mayor, has already decided it is time for some R&R and has gone on a yachting holiday in Turkey. Good for him. Even better still if he can properly sail the thing. I like to think that politicians have some abilities beyond pulling the levers of power, fiddling expenses and writing terrible memoirs. For all that I loathed the late Tory leader Edward Heath, the fact the he sailed in a number of major competitions, including the Fastnet, put him up a peg in my estimation.

What is it with people who want to complain that politicians take holidays? Take a look at this rather sulphorous leftwing site, full of bile at the very idea, unless it is two-week camping holiday in some crappy part of the UK. As a fan of small, restrained government, I think there is a lot to be said for encouraging the political classes to get as much down-time as possible. That way, they can do less damage. Ideally, of course, such holidays should be paid for out of their own resources and not from the taxpayer.

Political leaders of great talent have taken plenty of time off in the past, arguably to the benefit of their job and country. Sir Robert Peel enjoyed his trips to the Highlands of Scotland; Stanley Baldwin liked to relax in France. For a contrast, Gordon Brown has had hardly a day off since he was given the job, and look at what has happened to him.

In an ideal world, politicians would be on holiday 12 months a year.

Update: lest anyone suffer from the illusion that I think that Boris is going to be a good mayor, I agree with much of what the columnist Brendan O’Neill has to say over at Reason about Johnson. However, O’Neill’s argument would be a bit more persuasive if he was not, himself, a self-declared fan of Karl Marx, who is not exactly a poster child for individual liberty.

14 comments to Boris on holiday

  • Ooh ‘sulphurous’. Cheers chum.

    You’ve been a bit misleading here though. The post you linked to wasn’t really about Boris taking a holiday. What I was ‘full of bile’ about was his team slipping out news that he will double the price of bus fares for people on income support late on a bank holiday Sunday afternoon, when most newspapers were finishing up the next day’s editions and when their boss wasn’t even in the country.

    As far as I’m concerned Boris can holiday wherever he likes and as often as he likes. It’s not as if he is even running the show anyway.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    ToryTroll, you are being disengenous. You chose to have a crack at him taking a holiday at such a time. The truth is, that Boris will no doubt have to answer for these policy changes in any event. I am sure that people will want to grill him over the policies you mention. Him being away for a few days is frankly not worth getting oxidised about.

    As for the doubling of bus fares, I think this was to do with BJ’s ending the policy of accepting “cheap” oil from Ken’s old totalitarian buddy, Hugo Chavez, in response for advice about “tourism”. Yes, I am sure that is a number one priority of the average Venezuelan.

    In case you misunderstand us, this site is not a water carrier for BJ or indeed the Tory party. They are way too statist for our taste.

  • The fact is Boris hasn’t answered for the policy. The point of my post was that the news was deliberately framed and released in a way that some very bad news would be buried. It worked very well, as I explained in a separate post. The fact that he was on a very early holiday as this was being done, only added to how much of a kick in the teeth this was for the people affected by it.

    By all means I am willing to debate about the other merits or otherwise of the cancellation of the oil deal, but please base your critcisms of my posts on what I actually write and not on (for instance) where you think I like to go on holiday.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It worked very well, as I explained in a separate post. The fact that he was on a very early holiday as this was being done, only added to how much of a kick in the teeth this was for the people affected by it.

    It cannot have worked very well since you wrote about it. I am sure others will, and hence ask BJ and his minions about it as well.

    And your point about how his taking a holiday when the policy came out being a “kick in the teeth” is silly: the policy is no more or less of a “kick in the teeth” whether he is in the UK or not. The policy should be debated on its merits. Do you think the voters affected really give a flying f**k where the politician is when a law is passed?

  • I wrote about it yes, but London’s Quality Paper the Evening Standard did not. Other papers copied the City Hall press release almost word for word. Are you saying that I shouldn’t highlight these things because someone will get round to looking at them at some point?

    And whether or not it is ‘silly’ for me to mention that Boris is on a weeks holiday after only being in the job for three weeks is a matter of debate, but it does fit in with the story and is based entirely on facts. Your post on the other hand gives the impression that I have written things that I have not.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Are you saying that I shouldn’t highlight these things because someone will get round to looking at them at some point?

    No, of course not. You can write what you like, just as I can draw my own conclusions about what you say.

    If you are now claiming that you don’t have a problem with Boris or anyone else going on holiday as such, fine. But come on, there will always be times when some announcement or event coincides with something significant occuring and there are always people, right, left and centre, who bleat that this is somehow a poor state of affairs. If we tremble because politicians are not always at their desk when something important happens, we are behaving like children.

    But for sure, we do need to have Cameron, BJ and the rest of them put under the microscope, from all angles. they have had it easy for a long time. As a libertarian site, we have tended to point out the ominous parallels between Blair and DC.

  • renminbi

    Some of our states have part time legislatures which only meet a few months of the year. These are the states which generally have lower tax rates and fewer regulations. We are safe while they sleep.

  • Rob

    Tory Troll is just doing what it says on the tin – writing something purely to get a reaction.

    There’s a clearly implied criticism in his article that the Mayor is taking a holiday after “only 3 weeks” in the job and didn’t attend Africa Day.

    Back in the real world, I think most people would accept that the Mayor had quite a gruelling campaign in the 6 months leading up to the job, and this is, of course, half term week so is the best time to take a break with the kids.

  • Rob,
    Thanks for getting us back on topic, for the topic is a good one.

    Ronald Reagan and Calvin Coolidge put in 30-hour weeks with plenty of naps. Our nation prospered.

    Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover almost worked themselves to death. Our nation suffered.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  • Blognor Regis


    In 1969, the original Cloud was the first British boat to win Australia’s classic Sydney-Hobart race since it started 25 years previously, but it was her successor that was certainly the most graceful and probably the most successful.

    Captaining the British team to win the 1971 Admiral’s Cup, whilst holding the highest office in the country, made Edward Heath profoundly proud.

    Fair play

  • Peg C.

    I know I’m far from the only U.S. citizen who’d like to see our entire Congress go on permanent holiday.

  • I have long held the decline of the United States was concomitant with the air conditioning of the Capitol, which permitted Congress to stay in session over the summer.

  • NJDawood

    By going to Turkey, Boris will be able to refresh his knowledge of Turkey’s history and why it must become an Islamic state once again, according to the word of Allah. This too will follow for the unbelievers of London, and he (Boris) had best take note.

  • Paul Marks

    As was pointed out above, Edward Heath was good at this sport. And Edward Heath was one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history.

    However, I do not think the sporting or holiday interests of Boris Johnson matter either way.

    As for me – I think I would prefer to see certain areas of this island, rather than go all the way to Turkey.

    Although not the crappy bits of this island – I know those only too well.